May 27, 2007

40 words in Farm Bill remove state's rights - You better make your voice heard on this one


Of late things in Washington have been moving fast, too fast for a Congress that does not read the bills they pass. Certain people want certain outcomes in the Farm Bill, like making NAIS mandatory while requiring Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) and other legislation. Those certain people seem to be the ones who have so much power that there is no official oversight to their doings. Read this and see what I mean. [I've added my emphasis]

Provision would strip States of Control

The House Subcommittee on Livestock, Dairy and Poultry passed on the full committee on Thursday a briefly-worded provision that could have huge ramifications for the abilities of state and local governments to effectively oversee anything involving agriculture.

[This takes away states rights to make decisions regarding agriculture - anything USDA wants USDA is going to get]

Under the heading Miscellaneous Provisions, Sec. 123 USDA Inspection and Determination of Non-Regulated Status, the subcommittee approved a provision that would ban a state or locality from "prohibiting an article the Secretary of Agriculture [ Mike Johanns] has inspected and passed, or an article the Secretary has determined to be of non-regulated status."

The provision passed on to the full committee without discussion.[Without discussion?]

It's a brief statement that, based on the interpretation, could prevent a state from establishing rules tighter than USDA or protecting the interests of local producers. It would seem as well the tiny provision would also tell states they don't have any right adopt food-safety or recall standards.

This proposed restriction on the rights of states is being offered at the same time dozens of lawmakers are pushing to allow state-inspected meat to be sold across the country. So on one hand, Congress is trying to clamp down on they way a state can regulate and on the other hand, Congress wants to give states more authority over meat inspections. [A la Hydra the many headed serpent]

The Center for Food Safety was about the only group to challenge the intent of this proposal. The center stated in a news alert that the provision appears to be aimed at enacted state laws that restrict the planting of genetically engineered crops. Further, the provision could prohibit states from taking action when food contamination cases occur, the center pointed out.

This biotech battle in a variety of states. Some, such as Iowa, Nebraska and others have passed legislation making sure local counties cannot adopt their own biotech planting bans. Voters in at least four California counties passed such measures, leading biotech seed and chemical companies to go into action and get lawmakers to make sure such bans could not occur in major biotech crop states.

Still, states in recent years have had to take action to protect the interests of markets, even when USDA has approved a product. Rice, in particular, comes to mind. Lawmakers in Arkansas, Missouri and California have created legislation against biotech rice because USDA approved a product that, if grown, would have caused major international or domestic commodity buyers to stop buying rice from those states. In other situations, USDA regulators didn't do enough to ensure companies prevented the spread of an unapproved product into the general crop planting. Arkansas, not exactly a bastion of liberal, locally-grown, organic consumerism, had to take action because two of its best varieties of long-grain rice were contaminated. European countries have continued to kick back shipments because of that.

It's not known at this point why this provision was added or ended up in the purview of a subcommittee on livestock, poultry or dairy. But if such a law is needed and would effectively strip authority from states and counties to follow the wishes of voters or the needs of their farmers, then shouldn't such a proposal demand a hearing, open debate and discussion before Congress offers a new, broad power to the Secretary of Agriculture with fewer than 40 words in the farm bill? [Can't you just read the headline? "Agriculture Czar Johanns said today...".


Can you sense the duplicity in Washington, DC? Who is keeping your best interests at heart? Sadly the answer is NO ONE. The Farm Bill is being decided by revolving door, business to government agency bureaucrats. Iraq is just a distraction while those in Congress are taking away your rights. They just took away state's rights to decide on agriculture issues for their counties and towns, Who gets to set policy for states if the Farm Bill passes? The USDA's Secretary of Agriculture. Mike Johanns.

They call it cooked frog syndrome. If you put a frog in a pot of water and slowly turn up the heat, the frog never realizes the water is getting hotter to kill him.

Oh, right, why should you care about this? This means no state or locality can ban risky products when the federal government has failed to act to protect our health or the environment. The primary intent of this passage is to deny local or state rights to regulate
genetically engineered crops or food.

The biotech industry and big agribusiness have been trying to push similar bills in dozens of states across the country, and also at the Federal level with last year's so-called "Food Uniformity" bill. Now they want to sneak it into a committee hearing and hide it in the Farm Bill.
Like Paul Revere, I sound a warning. An urgent warning...Your government is being stolen by Democrats and Republicans alike who do not remember why they are in office and, certainly, can't recall their oaths of office.

People, everywhere, government is taking a serious turn. We have just got to wake everyone up.

Those of you who read this, please, please, please, reflect and ask God to bless you with insight, with clarity, with eyes to see, eats to hear, hearts to understand and act on in His will for you in this fight to keep our country.

Take Action Now! You can make a difference. You must help us make a difference. Email me and I will provide you with contact information for the subcommittee.

It's not for you and me that I work against these issues. No. It is for your children's children. The world is going to be lost for them if we don't get things straightened out now.

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